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Briefing 16: Rapid research COVID-19

23 Jan 2022

Community responses to COVID-19: Connecting communities? How relationships have mattered in community responses to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made all of us think about our relationships, whether at home, work, or in our community. While some people feel more connected, others have experienced extreme isolation. The importance of relationships has been highlighted in the ways communities have responded to the pandemic – indeed, we suggest ‘relational working’ has been key. Approaches which rely on relationships to work, but also pay attention to the importance of relationships to the people that community groups engage with and support, can enhance both individual and community wellbeing.

However, working in a relationship-centred way requires time, effort and emotional energy, which has placed immense pressure on some people. Relational approaches can also risk being exclusionary, through favouring those closest or most similar to you, exacerbating rather than easing existing divisions. The important learnings about relationships that have emerged from the pandemic will shape the way community groups approach their work in the future, including how to develop new ways of engaging groups that have previously been excluded from their work.

This briefing is part of a long-term research project exploring Community responses to COVID- 19. Read the blog that accompanies briefing 16 here